New methodological preprint on examining the effects of language experiences on white matter plasticity

Luk, G. & Pliatsikas, C. (2019): Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging to examine brain structural plasticity and language experience

To access, click here


Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have led to a renewed interest in the brain correlates of language processing. Most intriguing is how experiences of language use relates to variation in brain structure and how brain structure predicts language acquisition. These two lines of inquiry have important implications on considering language use as an experience-dependent mechanism that induces brain plasticity. This paper focuses on the structural connectivity of the brain, as delivered by white matter, i.e. the collections of the axons of the brain neurons that provide connectivity between brain regions. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS), a method commonly used in the field, will be presented in detail. Readers will be introduced to procedures for the extraction of indices of variation in WM structure such as fractional anisotropy. Furthermore, the role of individual differences in WM and changes in WM pertaining to bilingual experience and language processing will be used as examples to illustrate the applicability of this method.


Our lab at the International Symposium of Bilingualism, Edmonton, Canada #ISB12

Our lab has five presentations in the upcoming ISB, to take place between the 24th and 28th of Jun. Specifically:

Tuesday, June 25th:

Poster 119: Voits, T,. Robson, H., Rothman, J., & Pliatsikas, C.: The Cognitive and Neurological Effects of Bilingualism on Healthy Ageing


2.30, Room CCIS 1 160: Pliatsikas, C.: Understanding structural plasticity in the multilingual brain: The Dynamic Restructuring Model

4.05, Room CCIS 1 440: DeLuca, V,. Rothman, J., Bialystok, E., & Pliatsikas, C.: Bilingualism is a spectrum of experiences that variably affect neurocognitive adaptations.

4.30, Room CCIS 1 440: Aveledo, F, Pliatsikas, C., Higueras, Y., Meldaña, A., Bose, A., Marinis, T., & Martinez ML: The impact of bilingualism on cognitive abilities in Multiple Sclerosis

Friday, June 28th:

11.00, Room BS M 145: DeLuca, V., Soares, S., Pliatsikas, C., Rothman, C & Bialystok, E.: Beyond Structure: Investigating neurochemical bases for bilingualism-induced neural plasticity


See you all there!

Multimind summer school in Lesvos, Greece

About a month ago our lab participated in the first Multimind summer school. Jia’en Yee and Michal Kořenář met with the other thirteen researchers and the academics that are part of the Multimind training network, and the entire group had the opportunity to visit a refugee camp, as well as schools for refugees. Overall, a fantastic experience for everyone involved! Next stop: The Multimind Summer school in Reading, 1-5 July.


Michal Kořenář, Christos Pliatsikas and Jia’en Yee

IMG-20190512-WA0001With Jeanine Treffers-Daller, Michal’s primary supervisor

IMG-20190515-WA0000Theo Marinis, Christos Pliatsikas and Michal Kořenář, aka the three generations of supervisors-supervisees!


Getting a bit excited with our research!


Register now: Summer school on Cognitive Neuroscience methods for Social Sciences @ Reading!


MultiMind Summer School Reading 2019 on Cognitive Neuroscience Methods

When: Monday 1 – Friday 5 July 2019
Where: University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus
Registration Fee (Reading Students free): £100 (includes 5 Lunches and daily coffee breaks)

To register:
Enquiries: (Dr Inge Lasser)

This summer school is for postgraduates in the Social Sciences/Humanities who are interested in attending introductory classes on methods in Cognitive Neuroscience. It is more specifically for students who:

  • wish to gain a basic and  critical understanding of how Cognitive Neuroscience methods are used.
  • have an interest in incorporating Cognitive Neuroscience approaches or results in their own work.
  • wish to learn how to critically evaluate research incorporating Cognitive Neuroscience methods.

We will provide exposure to contemporary neuroimaging techniques including empirical design for electroencephalographic and functional magnetic resonance brain imaging. There will also be components on Bayesian Statistics and Computational Neuroscience. Participants will be ample opportunity to look at and critically discuss on-going projects on normal and abnormal brain development.

Our lab’s public event for the International Mother Language Day

On the 21st of February our lab delivered a public event for the International Mother Language day, called “Learning languages for a healthy brain”. In what turned up to be a successful event, we had the opportunity to talk about the current developments in the study of bilingualism and its effects on the mind and the brain to a very keen and engaged audience from Reading and beyond! Here are some photos from that evening.




The audience votes: what do they think bilingualism is?


Bilingualism: learning two labels for the same concepts


Demonstrating the structure of (my own!) brain


Vocabulary development in monolingual and bilingual children


Najla Alrwaita talking about bilingualism in children


Michal Korenar talking about bilingualism and flexible thinking


Toms Voits talking about bilingualism and ageing


Our panel during the Q&A session



Professor Ludovica Serratrice, Director of CeLM


Questions from our audience

Learning Languages for a Healthy Brain- title slide

We would like to thank our audience for the very interesting Q&A session, but also the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), and Marketing Communications and Engagement Team of the University of Reading for their support throughout the event.

Missed this event? Our lab has got another gig scheduled as part of the Pint of Science festival, to be held in Reading in 20-22 May. See you there!